The Vanier Report: Week 17
Convergence: Justice League International #2
Written by: Ron Marz
Pencils by: Mike Manley
Inks by: Joe Rubenstein, Mike Manley, & Bret Blevins
Colours by: Sotocolor
Letters by: Tom Napolitano
What can be said about Convergence that hasn’t already been said about many other maxi-series events? The main title is proving to be quite interesting and is driving forward at a great pace, but when it comes to the two-issue tie-ins, despite some relatively strong characterization and art, the books all suffer from a feeling of being inconsequential.
Convergence: Justice League International #2 is no different. That being said, there are some very interesting elements that deserve to be highlighted.
To the modern comic book reader, the original run of the JLI is a bizarre aberration – a team and title that embraced and revelled in the joy and silliness and absurdity of the superhero genre. Lovingly referred to as the “Bwahaha” League (a reference to the characters’ over-the-top laughter which matched the over-the-top nature of the team), the JLI stand apart as a superhero team that enjoyed being superheroes. So when such a team is paired with the jaded and cynical Justice League of the Kingdom Come universe, there is some interesting metatextual ground to tread.
At its core, one could argue that Convergence: Justice League International is a reflection on the state of the genre itself. Especially in the context of an event as reflexive and self-aware as Convergence, it is difficult to believe that Ron Marz is blind to the symbolic stakes of the battle. It is the lighthearted versus the grim, in essence, and Marz pretty clearly sides with the former.
As the two Leagues prepare to battle, the JLI’s Blue Beetle meets with Kingdom Come’s Wonder Woman in an attempt to avoid the conflict altogether. And though certain members of the Kingdom Come League also would prefer to settle peacefully, their war-weariness shines through. It is Blue Beetle who advocates the most strongly for peaceful resolution and also who convinces Diana to stage the fight away from innocent civilians. And as the battle rages, it is Blue Beetle who inspires his dark counterpart to allow a little levity back into his soul, cracking jokes as they team up to battle Telos’ drones.
But for all that Marz demonstrates his allegiance to the lightness of heart embodied by the JLI, he concedes one major point – the team loses. And though Diana is still sympathetic enough to spare the lives of the Leaguers, the fact remains that the JLI were well and truly outmatched by the Kingdom Come League, and if it weren’t for events transpiring elsewhere between Deimos and Telos (see Convergence), the JLI’s Metropolis would have been wiped off the map.
In spite of that, Blue Beetle’s positive influence on both Diana and his counterpart is a welcome relief from an issue that initially threatened to drown out the JLI’s traditionally fun tone completely. The issue’s coloration was especially grim, exploring a relatively narrow range of muted hues and sacrificing the vibrancy of colour to be found in the likes of Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, Martian Manhunter, and Fire. Likewise, Marz’ script began on a similarly sombre note, but as the issue continued, he finally rewarded readers with a true glimpse at the optimism that epitomized the JLI’s original run. A much earned nod to the Blue and Gold (including that characteristic laugh) helped to overcome the team’s defeat at the hands of the Kingdom Come League.
The issue was generally enjoyable, especially given how prominently it featured Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle, a fan-favourite character who, in spite of sporadic appearances since, has been sorely missed since his death in Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Yet again, the Convergence tie-ins suffer from a lack of weight – the events that transpire largely feel as though they will have no impact on the wider Multiverse – but this issue makes for a good piece of nostalgia nonetheless.
Feature Written By: Reid Vanier
“Reid is a comic book fan masquerading as a theatre artist. His love of comics (specifically DC) was inherited by his father’s collections of Flash, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Justice League of America. Reid is now the Editor and Lead Writer of Modern Mythologies.”